Former Miss USA Noelia Voigt on Reinventing Her Style in Cannes After 'Heartbreaking' Exit (Exclusive)

The 24-year-old tells PEOPLE that she's 'moved on' from pageantry and is ready to experiment with fashion — plus shares a mental health update

<p>Sud Photos</p> Noelia Voigt

Sud Photos

Noelia Voigt

Noelia Voigt is focused on the future as she takes on the 77th Annual Cannes Film Festival.

The 24-year-old relinquished her title as Miss USA 2023 earlier this month to focus on her mental health and has made her way to Cannes for the first time — a trip that Voigt tells PEOPLE was a “spur of the moment decision.”

Aside from taking in the beautiful views of the French Riviera, her experience at Cannes is an opportunity for Voigt to flex her fashion muscles.

“Being a former pageant girl of seven years, I have amassed a large amount of clothes that I was able to pull a few looks from," says the Utah native. When it came to choosing looks for the glamorous film festival, Voigt was eager to reinvent her style after so many years in pageantry.

Related: Noelia Voigt 'Overwhelmed' by Support After Resigning as Miss USA, Will Focus on Being 'Advocate for Mental Health Awareness' (Exclusive)

<p>Alessandro Levati/Getty</p> Noelia Voigt at Cannes.

Alessandro Levati/Getty

Noelia Voigt at Cannes.

“There is (or at least there was previously) definitely a ‘pageant style’ that I tried to push boundaries on even when I was still competing in pageants,” she says. “Now that I have moved on from that chapter of my life and I find myself in places like Cannes, I am surrounded by high fashion which I absolutely love."

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For a Roberto Cavalli event in Cannes on Sunday, May 19, Voigt leaned into one of spring’s hottest color trends in a butter yellow gown by the designer. The floor-length ensemble featured a v-neck and subtle leopard print pattern. She accessorized with a gold clutch and oversize gold earrings.

<p>Noelia Voigt</p> Noelia Voigt.

Noelia Voigt

Noelia Voigt.

Voigt later stepped out in a glamorous Ema Savahl gown with a mesmerizing black and white polka dot print, which she paired with elegant pearl earrings.

<p>Sud Photos</p> Noelia Voigt in Cannes.

Sud Photos

Noelia Voigt in Cannes.

Her time at Cannes has also resulted in some new friendships. While the former Miss USA says she isn’t much of a partier, she’s enjoyed getting to know fellow guests like Bachelor Nation’s Hannah Godwin and Dylan Barbour and Selling Sunset star Jason Oppenheim.

<p>Noelia Voigt</p> Noelia Voigt with Hannah Godwin, Jason Oppenheim and Dylan Barbour in Cannes.

Noelia Voigt

Noelia Voigt with Hannah Godwin, Jason Oppenheim and Dylan Barbour in Cannes.

“We all had the best few days together staying out until 4 a.m. and ordering room service when we got back to the hotel,” Voigt recalls.

As for her mental state now, Voigt says her goals are to “re-strategize” and stay positive.

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“It was a very tough and heartbreaking decision to make, and everything felt very uncertain in terms of what the future would bring,” she tells PEOPLE of her decision to resign from her title of Miss USA. “But in all things in my life, I have always maintained a very solid faith and believed that there was a plan for everyone.”

She continues, “If something doesn’t go the way you hoped it would, you have to re-harness your power, shift your focus, and re-strategize... While it is completely valid and normal to grieve the loss of a dream or experience, it is vital to maintain a positive outlook on what the future holds. It could just be better than anything you ever imagined.”

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